On a recent vacation I decided to rent a Toyota Prius. After driving it 200 miles the gas tank was still showing full. Not mostly full, but completely, 100% full. (It's a digital gage.) I thought to myself: this can't be right. Even if the thing does get 50 miles to the gallon, that still means we've burned 4 gallons and it can't be more than a 10-12 gallon tank, right? So it just has to be down at least a third of a tank, right? So that means that the gas gage must be broken. So that means that we really have no idea how much gas we have, and we could get stuck in the middle of nowhere. So we'd better fill up.
We pulled in to what is very likely the very last pump-first-pay-later gas station in the United States, possibly the world and topped it off. By the time gas was bubbling out of the filler hose we'd squeezed 2.7 gallons into the tank.
Holy shit! We'd been averaging more than 70 miles per gallon! I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
The most amazing thing about is that these were not 200 highway miles. These were 200 miles in the city and an badly overcrowded state highway. These were 200 frustrating stop-and-go miles. It turns out that the Prius, probably because of the regenerative braking system, actually uses less gas in the city than on the highway. I am duly impressed.
If only it didn't look so goofy I might actually buy one for myself.
Is that a Toyota Prius, or a Honda Insight?
"It turns out that the Prius, probably because of the regenerative braking system, actually uses less gas in the city than on the highway"
partially true, but also because the Prius uses the electric engine at low speeds, like in the city. Once you get above 45 or so, it has to switch almost completely to the gas engine, so on the highway it is just like driving a normal car.
>Is that a Toyota Prius, or a Honda Insight?
Doh! It's a Toyota Prius. (Fixed in the original post.)
The look of the Prius is an acquired taste. I have a red one and love, love, love it. I can't believe how much I missed having a hatchback (my first car was a VW Rabbit, then two Honda Civic sedans). It's like driving a video game...always trying to better your gas mileage. My best tank had an average mpg of 69.4.
The Prius is most efficient in stop-and-go driving where you get the benefit of the regenerative braking to charge the batteries.
On the highway, its mileage drops to a more typical high-efficiency level, slightly better than that of other subcompact cars with small engines.
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